Losartan, sold under the trade name Cozaar among others, is a medication mainly used to treat high blood pressure. It is also used for diabetic kidney disease, heart failure, and left ventricular enlargement. It is taken by mouth. It may be used alone or in addition to other blood pressure medication.
Discovered in March 1986 by scientists on their first assignments at a corporate research lab after completing their PhDs, losartan was the first in a new class of antihypertensive drugs, angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor antagonists. It works by blocking a substance in the body that causes blood vessels to tighten. As a result, losartan relaxes the blood vessels. A lower blood pressure will increase the supply of the blood and oxygen to the heart. Losartan is also used to decrease the risk of stroke in patients with high blood pressure and enlargement of the heart. It is also used to treat kidney problems in patients with type 2 diabetes and a history of hypertension.
How is Losartan used?
Losartan comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. To help you remember to take losartan, take it at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take losartan exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of losartan and gradually increase your dose. If your child can not swallow a tablet, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. The pharmacist can prepare a liquid form of this medication for your child.
Losartan controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Your blood pressure may decrease during the first week of your treatment, but it may take 3 to 6 weeks for you to notice the full benefit of losartan. Continue to take losartan even if you feel well. Do not stop taking losartan without talking to your doctor. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
What are the most common side effects of losartan?
The most common side effects of losartan include:
- stuffy nose.
- back pain.
- low blood sugar.
- chest pain.
- upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold.
The general list of side effects caused by losartan include;
- knee, or back pain
- muscle cramps or weakness
- decreased sensitivity to touch
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- chest pain
Losartan may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Losartan Safety Information
Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Losartan can cause injury or death to the unborn baby if you take the medicine during your second or third trimester. Use effective birth control.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to losartan. If you have diabetes, do not use losartan together with any medication that contains aliskiren (Amturnide, Tekturna, Tekamlo, Valturna).
In extremely rare cases, losartan can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, potentially leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.